, Volume 4, Issue 4, pp 297-305

Helicobacter pylori, dietary factors, and atrophic gastritis in five Japanese populations with different gastric cancer mortality

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In a cross-sectional study of 634 men aged 40 to 49 years, randomly selected from five areas of Japan with different rates of gastric cancer mortality, 121 men of 624 evaluated were diagnosed as having atrophic gastritis through serum pepsinogen I<70 ng/ml and the pepsinogen I (PGI)/pepsinogen II (PGII) ratio <3.0. We examined the relation of Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) antibodies and dietary factors, including plasma level of antioxidant micronutrients, to the presence of atrophic gastritis. Presence of H. pylori IgG antibodies was associated with increased risk of atrophic gastritis (odds ratio [OR]=1.9, 95 percent confidence interval [CI]=1.1–3.3). As the level of plasma β-carotene increased, we found a steady decrease in the risk of atrophic gastritis (OR for second quartile = 0.7, third quartile = 0.6, fourth quartile = 0.4, with CI=0.2–0.8). Frequent intake of yellow vegetables also was associated with lower risk, while frequent intake of soybean products was related to increased risk. Although H. pylori antibodies, β-carotene level, and intake of soybean products were all significant in the multivariate analysis, these factors did not explain the differences in atrophic gastritis prevalence among the five regions. The analysis of these risk factors in relation to each pepsinogen marker showed that although both H. pylori infection and low plasma β-carotene were associated with the decreased level of serum PGI/II ratio, the former was derived from the increase of PGII, which is common in early stage of atrophic gastritis, and the latter from the decrease of PGI, which is specific to severe atrophic gastritis. This finding suggests that H. pylori infection is associated with the formation of atrophic gastritis, while β-carotene protects its advancement as well as formation.

This study was supported in part by grants-in-aid for Cancer Research from the Ministry of Health and Welfare and for Scientific Research from the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture of Japan.